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Technical EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TRANSMISSIONS BUT WAS AFRAID TO ASK

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jan 17, 2022.

  1. If we are going to drive out hot rods or customs there comes a time when a decision has to be made whether you will have 2 pedals or three, naturally if you go the 2 pedal route the automatic transmission will be your choice, but there are a bunch of different ones available.

    On the other hand if you want to row gears the vast array of straight drive transmission out there can confusing when trying to decide just how traditional you want your car/truck.

    The 3 speeds definitely fall in the old school way of building traditional cars, there is also the top loader 4 speed and the more modern 5 and 6 transmissions.

    What are you using in your cars and trucks and are you happy with the decision.

    Feel free to offer any advice for the newer guys and old farts alike. HRP
     
  2. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,637

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    I have a C-4 in my Coupe and I'm very happy with it. I'm done with manual transmissions. Injuries did me in.
    The only advice that I can give on the subject is, don't keep doing what you can't do to please others or worry what others will think. It's not worth the pain.
     
  3. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 597

    hemihotrod66
    Member

    Got an A833 Mopar 4 gear... Nothing better than rowing the gears with an old Hurst competition plus shifter...
     
    mad mikey, alanp561, Ned Ludd and 8 others like this.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,931

    squirrel
    Member

    Some general rules.

    The more powerful the engine, the fewer gears you need. Lots of torque available means you can set up the gearing to be "lazy" getting the car moving. Little engines need to rev high to accelerate the car.

    The use of the car might determine how many gears you need. If you are going to go racing and need to launch the car as hard as possible, but also spend time on the freeway, then overdrive is a good way to go.

    Automatics are easier to shift, which is an issue if you have trouble dealing with a clutch pedal. And they can have a performance disadvantage, or not, depending which one you use, and how it's set up.

    Three on the tree was the standard setup in most low cost cars from the late 30s to the early 70s. If you drove one back when, you probably hated it then, but it might be a refreshing change to have one now. For a while, at least. But the most serious traditional rod I ever had the pleasure to drive (Steve's 32 Cabrio with the blown flatty) had it, and it was great!

    If you liked the move to muscle cars in the 60s, then a 4 speed and steep rearend gears (and limited highway driving) will probably do all you need. They're really fun to drive when set up right.

    5 speeds suck, but I only say that because they used to be what economy cars got starting in the later 70s. Ugh.
     
    Dick Stevens, rod1, alanp561 and 8 others like this.

  5. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 4,189

    Fordors
    Member

    Wide ratio T-10/blown 350 in my 5 window and a Turbo 350/283 in the Fordor.
     
    mad mikey likes this.
  6. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,969

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    bought a 64 muncie m20 out of a gto back in the early 70's, finally putting it to use in my 50 chevy truck. paid 100 for it.
     
  7. Thanks Jim, this is the kind of information that helps members pick the right transmission for their project. HRP
     
  8. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,481

    wicarnut
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Back in the day it had to be a shifter car for me, I liked the fun of rowing the gears, downshifting to make them glass packs rumble, had 3 speeds in the beginning with a Hurst floor shift kits I installed, then some 4 speed GM cars, what fun it was. I went to auto transmission cars/trucks as daily drivers in 1970 and have have had only 1 shifter car since, my OT ragtop now 33 years old. My HAMB cars were all SBC with TH350 trans. It's funny when I drive my ragtop, I occasionally stall it but it all comes back and enjoy the manual trans. I still enjoy driving/cruising in general, just not the big city traffic as IMO people drive like Idiots today, got me off motorcycles after 36 years of riding.
     
  9. Squirrel (as always) nailed it. Transmission choice depends on your tastes, intended use, and engine. Although I went to a later OT SBF and 3.03 toploader in my 53, I kept the 3 on the tree. Fun for a car occasionally driven. My latest build (a 40 Buick) is getting a 64 ST400 transmission behind a 401 nail with a 291 ratio rear. Lots of torque.
     
  10. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,681

    mcmopar
    Member
    from Strum, wi

    Squirrel, good points, but I love my 5spd in my truck and I can row the gears.

    Tony
     
  11. Primered Forever
    Joined: Jul 7, 2008
    Posts: 504

    Primered Forever
    Member
    from Joplin,MO

    I have a 5 speed in my 28 sedan.
     
    mad mikey, egads, Tman and 3 others like this.
  12. chop&drop
    Joined: Oct 11, 2006
    Posts: 535

    chop&drop
    Member

    My roadster has a Super T10 four speed in it. My new coupe has a TKO 500 five speed. Both have a 350 sbc and 3.50 gears. Love and enjoy them both.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  13. <---------- My old beater has a 350 turbo transmission. HRP
     
  14. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,691

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Been doing ,an helping others a long time.
    Built hotrods,customs n racecars.
    When asked,I still give the same advice as I used in the 1950s!
    When you pick the V8 you want?,get it with the tranny the factory put with it.
    Doing so ,saves $ an time. Standard or auto,ether one.
    If your going to race hard***,then an only then,think about some big HP tranny.
    In the late 1950s,I used the Ford Y-block V8 and the 3 speed standard it came with.
    I blow first gear slider out one time in 2001,cost me $35 in parts to fix it.
    Other then that fail,between 1959 n now,the clutch has worn out a 3 times.That'd be me.
    For autotranny,you can blow $$$ on stall speed TC,but don't do that,if your going to run
    a mild cam and can get a stock idle speed at or a little lower then stock. High idle speeds above factory is why you would need a new TC designed for your higher idle.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,931

    squirrel
    Member

    that's great advice!

    Also, see if you can get a rearend gear ratio to match what came in the donor car. Then it'll all work right.
     
  16. sidewayzz69
    Joined: Aug 9, 2020
    Posts: 320

    sidewayzz69
    Member

    Muncie M21. Hurst shifter.
     
  17. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 1,316

    210superair
    Member
    from Michigan

    I'm still afraid of transmissions, lol. I'll pull it and take it to the shop, but I don't crack um open. I've rebuilt velvet drive marine 'transmissions', but they're not really transmissions. Automotive trannys I take to a professional...
     
  18. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 338

    error404
    Member
    from CA

    same here. I like gears. Most of my vehicles have a 5 or 6 speed, one has a 4.
     
    HOTRODPRIMER and egads like this.
  19. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 704

    Almostdone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Model A Coupe, 348 Chevy, 4.11s….. 700R4. A 3.06 first gear and a 0.70 fourth gear.

    I love manuals, but the wife said automatic and it’s been great.

    John
     
  20. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,466

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    The same can be said for weight, the less weight you have to move, the fewer gears needed to get it moving.
     
  21. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My old Touring had a T350, got it for a song and it made the car easier to build and drive. My 54 Chevy had a T400, came in the car and was bullet proof. Both drove awesome. The Rocky33 had a T5 and was one of the most fun cars I ever owned and drove. Flat heads and T5s are a perfect match. Loved it so much that I sourced another T5 from @Rocky for my Model A tudor. My GMC pickup was also going to get a T5 until I fell into another built T350 like I had in my T. Came from the same local tranny shop that we used for all of our customer cars at the rod shop. Thing barely has a couple thousand miles on it and I know the car it was in. My wife said she would love the truck better with an Auto so the decision was made.
    Final gear ratio and the end use of the car is the most important factor.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  22. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,372

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

    "street performance" . performance being driving on twisty roads, not just straight line drags.
    Close ratio 3 and 4 speeds are mostly just kind of a pain if the engine has a decently wide power band
    The wide ratios of a 3 speed with overdrive can be real nice, especially if a synchro 1st can be had. Bigger power means OD 2nd may not be wise for durability.
     
    HOTRODPRIMER and squirrel like this.
  23. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,994

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    When I first put my T together with a mild can & single 4bbl , I could leave from a standing start in 4th gear with a 3.55 rear & 28" tall tires , it was kinda fun !
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  24. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,994

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Depends on the power band of the engine & how aggressively you drive ...
     
    alanp561 and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  25. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,004

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Straight line fun I like shifting gears, for driving back road gravel and swinging the ass end sideways thru the turns and curves I prefer auto, it allows me to keep both hands on the wheel and yes I still like to hang it sideways when on the back roads ! :D
     
    Joel W and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  26. Just ordered a very well built 200-r4 OD for my Model A Vicky project. It's be behind a blown 392 Hemi and will live just fine even with 650 HP being put to it. This allows me to run 4.33 rear gears ( 31" tall rear tire) and still drive 70MPH at 2300 rpm's. It's small size was also a determining factor as I need every inch I can get.
     
    mad mikey, rod1, 57JoeFoMoPar and 3 others like this.
  27. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 4,474

    okiedokie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Ok

    Milwscruffy, where did you order 2004R from?
     
    milwscruffy and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  28. When was building the Ranch Wagon I had originally though I would use a automatic, Brenda insisted that the car remain a straight drive,she was ok with the 3 on the tree.

    I close friend passed away and his wife offered me his 84 mustang with a 302 & a T-5, so that was the engine and transmission, she loves rowing gears and the cable clutch bets the hell out of the Hayes clutches I use to use when I was a kid. HRP
     
  29. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,732

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Is the NP 440 that fits Chevy the same trans ?
     
    2OLD2FAST likes this.
  30. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,779

    NashRodMan
    Member

    I have a Camaro world class T5 in my 41 Chevy behind an I6 292 bored and cammed. Cant say I'm happy with it though. I already had it out once where it wouldn't go into gear (due to a couple of flexplate bolts backing out). I fixed that (with red Loctite) and it wont go into gear again. that was last May and I haven't touched it since. I gotta pull it again to see what the issue is now. Ugh.
    Might go to a 200R4.
     
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.

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